MDHHS urges Michiganders to learn signs of elder abuse, how to report it

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MDHHS urges Michiganders to learn signs of elder abuse, how to report it


CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – One in 10 older adults in the United States experiences abuse, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is encouraging residents to learn the warning signs of elder abuse and the ways they can help prevent it.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed June 15 as Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Awareness Day. According to the proclamation, “Michigan’s older adults are valued members of our state, and it is our responsibility to ensure their safety and minimize crimes against them.”

Physical, psychological or verbal abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and financial exploitation are all considered forms of elder abuse and can occur in both private homes and institutional settings, such as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Perpetrators are often family members, friends or neighbors of the victim, and are often suffering from mental health or physical problems or are having financial problems.  

“All Michigan residents should watch for signs of abuse, such as physical trauma, withdrawal, depression, anxiety and fear of family members, friends or caregivers,” said Nick Lyon, MDHHS director. “Efforts to identify, report and investigate elder abuse are critically important in reducing the harm to older adults. If you suspect someone is being abused, contact Adult Protective Services or local law enforcement if someone is in immediate danger.”

Older adults are also encouraged to plan ahead to protect themselves against financial exploitation and be aware of the possibility of scams, as these crimes are becoming more common across Michigan. Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) around the state can also connect seniors to community-based services that can assist them in maintaining or increasing their independence, helping them reduce the risk of abuse. To get information about your local AAA, visit the Aging & Adult Services Agency website or call 517-373-8230.

If you feel that you are a victim of elder abuse or know someone who is, report suspected mistreatment to Adult Protective Services by calling 855-444-3911 any time day or night. Allegations will be investigated within 24 hours after a report is received. If someone is being abused in a facility, contact Adult Protective Services and call the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program at 866-485-9393.

For more information about the forms of elder abuse, visit the Adult Protective Services website.

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